Google+ YA Romantics: Bloggers Dressed in Blood: The Hallowed Ones

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bloggers Dressed in Blood: The Hallowed Ones


This post is part of Bloggers Dressed in Blood, hosted by The Fake Steph Dot Com, Midnight Book Girl, My Mercurial Musings and On the Wings of Books!

The Hallowed Ones is a book that wasn't even on my radar, but I highly recommend that you check it out if you like suspenseful, scary books:

The Hallowed Onesby Laura Bickle
Published on September 25, 2012
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Source: Borrowed from the library


My summary:  It's late September -- nearly time for Rumspringa, a tradition in which young Amish men and women are encouraged to leave the fold and experience secular life before returning to undergo baptism. Katie can't wait -- she's looking forward to wearing jeans and going to the movies. But when strange things start happen -- a helicopter crash, abandoned cars -- it becomes apparent that something's gone terribly wrong in the world. The Amish close their gates to the danger and Katie will have to decide if the greatest threat to her life lies outside her safe, familiar community ... or within it.

My take:  Whoa!  I didn't know anything at all about this book and I was blown away. The Hallowed Ones is a thinking person's thriller, a post-apocalyptic horror story that's both truly scary and deeply thoughtful. Katie is a great heroine -- a dutiful daughter and loyal friend. She feels safe in her small, conservative group of Plain folk, but she's also deeply curious about life outside. 

When an apocalyptic disaster strikes -- I don't want to say exactly what and spoil the suspense -- the Amish elders preach that tragedy is God's will and obedience is required. Katie tries to follow the rules, but she just can't help but question them. And break them. Will her rebellious ways lead to her salvation or her downfall? I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out.

Sorry to be so vague -- there's nothing worse than diluting the suspense of a scary book with spoilers. So I won't.  But I can tell you what I loved about this book without spoiling a thing. Some horror and post-apocalyptic books are just sheer white-knuckle entertainment, and that's fine. But I really appreciate it when an author is able to show the downfall of humanity while also raising questions about what it means to be human. 

So, while it was busy scaring the pants off me, The Hallowed Ones was also making me think about the connections between faith and danger -- can believing and trusting in a higher power protect you from evil? Can obedience and piety keep you safe? The book weaves in themes of inside versus outside, purity versus contamination, free will versus God's will. And ... to my delight after recently reading a bunch of so-called YA that really didn't feel much like YA, The Hallowed Ones  features a character who is facing not just the usual adolescent challenges, but unique cultural and religious ones as well.

Of course, all this philisophical stuff is woven in so cleverly that you hardly notice it's there. From the very first pages, this book drew me in with its ominous imagery and a sense of unease that builds steadily. My heart was pounding as I read, and I could hardly put the book down.  I highly recommend it!

32 comments:

  1. I am soooo happy to hear you loved this one. I was a little unsure if it was for me but a friend read it and loved it too and told me I must read it! I do like scary suspense so I'll probably love it too. :)

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  2. If you like scary suspense, you must read it. It was excellent!

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  3. I don't do scary, but I like the sound of this one!

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    1. If you can handle Ashes, you can handle this. WAY less gory..

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  4. Something about the Amish just intrigues me. And then all of your talk of scary suspense...well, I'm going to have to read this one now. You're so good at telling me exactly what I need to hear to know that I NEED to read a book without ruining anything for me. :)

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    1. I loved the movie Witness when I was a kid.
      I just loved this book! Original concept, very well executed!

      And thanks for the compliment. That is my goal :)

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  5. Great review Jen! I love the event! I must pick up the Hallowed Ones.

    Happy Reading! :)

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  6. It's hard to believe that a book with so many different elements came together so well and made me THINK.

    I was totally taken by surprise with The Hallowed Ones.

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  7. So happy that you loved it! The Hallowed Ones has definitely become one of my favorite books of the year and probably my second favorite scary book of all time. It's definitely the perfect read for Halloween :)

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. Have to ask: what is your first fave scary book????

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    2. I loved This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. The whole atmosphere of the book was so hopeless and the zombies were insanely scary. Loved it, but it scared the crap out of me!

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  8. YES! I'm so glad you loved this one! I had an eARC from Netgalley but it ran out. :[
    I'll definitely be reading this very soon. :)
    Great review Jen! xD

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    1. Why didn't I request this on NetGalley???? I probably thought it would be too scary.

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  9. This one is on my list! I love your review of it. Can't wait to get my hands on this one! Thanks for sharing :)

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  10. I've heard awesome things about this one!! I'm so glad you loved it. Personally, I love Amish books, but mixing post-apocalyptic things? AWESOME!!

    Great review, Jen! I will definitely be checking this out!

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    1. I haven't really read any Amish books, but I loved the way she incorporated the Amish community into the story.

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  11. Awesome review Jen! This book sounds awesome!! I love reading about the Amish culture, it's not one you see much in YA. I'm looking forward to experiencing this heart pounding read myself =)

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    1. You will love it! I'm giving away a copy for a Spooktacular Blog Hop next week -- so hop over and check it out then!

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  12. Wow, this sounds really good. I didn't really think much of it when I saw it. Awesome review. This definitely sounds like a book that I would enjoy!

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    1. Me either, but then I read the description. And then I read the book. It's so well done!

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  13. THE HALLOWED ONES is already on my wish list. I saw it around & about & just knew this one was for me.

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  14. This is high on my wishlist, I've got the funds..i just promised myself I'd tackle some of this tbr pile before I bought it *sighs* awesome review!

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  15. This book sounds fascinating! I haven't heard of it either and now it is popping up ALL OVER the place! I'm definitely checking this one out, I'm all about scary and this one sounds like a winner. GREAT review:)

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  16. I was so very skeptical the first time I heard about this book. But I've now read two great reviews that have really got me intrigued! I like that the fact that Katie is Amish really plays into how she approaches the vampire problem.

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  17. I'm such a wimp but this might work for me since there is so much more to it than just trying to scare people.

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  18. OMG. This sounds so fantastic!!!!!!!!! A thinking person's thriller. What a fantastic description. I love books with faith themes and characters who question everything they were raised to believe. I will definitely have to check this one out.

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  19. I LOOOOOOOVED this one!!! It was so good!! I thought Katie was great and I'm glad she didn't just do what she was told! <3 It's so awesome!

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  20. This sounds really good and creepy and suspenseful. I'll definitely be checking it out :)

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  21. oooh this does sound good and I love how you did the review! You are vague but still enough to keep us intrigued. I have put this on my shelf and next trip to bookstore; I will have to pick this up.

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